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Early estimates of the energy of the air burst range from 10–15 megatons of TNT (42–63 petajoules) to 30 megatons of TNT (130 PJ), depending on the exact height of burst estimated when the scaling-laws from the effects of nuclear weapons are employed. However, modern supercomputer calculations that include the effect of the object's momentum find that more of the energy was focused downward than would be the case from a nuclear explosion and estimate that the airburst had an energy range from 3 to 5 megatons of TNT (13 to 21 PJ).
The 15-megaton (Mt) estimate represents an energy about 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan—roughly equal to that of the United States' Castle Bravo (15.2 Mt) ground-based thermonuclear detonation on 1 March 1954, and about one-third that of the Soviet Union's Tsar Bomba explosion on October 30, 1961 (which, at 50 Mt, is the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated).
originally posted by: deltaalphanovember
a reply to: mirageman
Very nice post ...
I covered this in a thread a good few years back, but your post is so much more in-depth.
I still think South Africa and the Israelis were in this one together ... South Africa providing the support and the Israelis providing the bang.
....What Vela 6911 detected was a light pattern that had the characteristic “double hump” shape associated with a nuclear explosion.
As a function of time, the observed light pattern of a nuclear test rises to an initial peak of luminosity with a subsequent decline due to the fireball being obscured by the shock wave (a thin layer of highly compressed air).
As the shock wave cools it becomes less opaque and the fireball is then increasingly visible, with luminosity rising to a second peak before declining monotonically.
On April 20, 1997, an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz quoted South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad as confirming that the VELA event was a nuclear test. The article said that Israel had helped South Africa develop its bomb designs in return for 500 tons of uranium and other assistance.
Although Pahad later claimed his statement had been taken out of context, the Ha’aretz article was referenced in a July 11, 1997 Los Alamos Laboratory newsletter under the headline: “Blast from the past: Lab scientists receive vindication”. This referred to earlier work by the laboratory concluding that a nuclear test had taken place on September 22, 1979. Dave Simons of the Nonproliferation and Arms Control Research and Development division said: “The whole federal laboratory community came to the conclusion that the data indicated a bomb”, and that “we were quite thoroughly convinced of our interpretation”.....
....One of the likely reasons that the U.S. government is withholding the declassification of relevant documents is to assist Israel to maintain its policy of opacity in nuclear affairs, a policy which had its origin during the Johnson presidency and was reinforced in a bargain made with the U.S. during the Nixon presidency. Its abandonment accompanied by the admission that Israel violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty would create some serious political fallout for both countries. But it is hard to argue that helping Israel in this way contributes to U.S. national security
There were 210 French nuclear tests from 1960 through 1995. Seventeen of them were done in the Algerian Sahara between 1960 and 1966, starting in the middle of the Algerian War. One-hundred ninety-three were carried out in French Polynesia.
1979-1980 1979–1980 22
Despite the swirling allegations and suspicions, the mystery of the flash remained unsolved.
Probably a natural phenomenon, sometimes things just go boom. And sometimes the[y']re pretty big......
...The physics of these processes depends only on the total input energy and not on how it is produced. In particular, the maximum and minimum of the doublepeak flash do not depend on whether the input energy came from fission (e.g.,a Trinity-type device) or fusion (e.g., a modern thermonuclear device), and thus is independent of design features.
It is both the light intensity and its temporal variation that are unique to an atmospheric nuclear explosion, with the second peak lasting 100 times longer than the first and containing 99% of the energy. Other natural processes might be able to produce one or the other signature, but not both.